The Socastee Heritage Festival continues bridging history and preservation for an Horry County community founded in 1711.
With children in mind, the Socastee Heritage Foundation will celebrate spring with its third annual soiree, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday on Dick Pond Road, by the Socastee swing bridge. Admission is free.
Amy Weaver, secretary on the foundation’s board of directors, said funds raised from the 2013 festival will be shared, for preservation of the historic Sarvis House at Peachtree and Dick Pond roads, “a pretty historic piece of property” first occupied in 1881, and grant requests that will be considered for individuals and community causes centered on children. Last year, fest funds went toward a playground for special needs students at Palmetto Bay Elementary School.
She also spoke about why she and husband Ron Weaver – parents of 14- and 10-year-old children – have been involved with the foundation since its formation in 2010, all for the benefit, as she pronounced the community’s name, accenting the third syllable phonetically: “Sock-ah-STEE.”
Question | What makes this festival a rite of spring, a young, but already mighty, tradition for the growing community of Socastee?
Answer | I think Socastee has never had anything of this size, with one day set aside where we focus on visiting one another and having a good time together. One of the benefits that we’ve heard from a lot of the people, especially older people, in the community. ... They come out, and they’re seeing friends and family they haven’t seen in years and years and years, and didn’t even know they were still around. ...
We’ve met several community members ... who are in their 70s and 80s, and they ... talk about what the community was like. ... When they were growing up, it was fields and dirt roads in the exact spot where we’re sitting, and that wasn’t that long ago.
Q. | What transition has the community gone through in so short a time period?
A. | The change in Socastee in just the last 50 years, it’s huge change, more so than in most communities. That was one of our reasons to get some sort of organization started ... to make sure we didn’t lose touch with our heritage. ... Even though a lot people have moved here, we still have a lot of Socastee natives who were born and raised here. They’re everywhere, but they’re not recognized as much.
Q. | How has the foundation board helped drive the mission to further deepen this community’s ties?
A. | Our board is made up of nine board members, several of them native to this area, whose families have been here for generations, and some who have relocated from other places in the country. Socastee is such a melting pot of all sorts of backgrounds and heritages. ... Socastee is just a very unique community, compared with other places in Horry County. You can pick out someone who lives in Conway, Aynor or Loris, and someone from Socastee – even by our accent.
Q. | What Socastee landmarks help identify the community as part of history lessons this party and the foundation strive to share?
A. | Some people might not realize that Peachtree Landing was the site of the Peachtree ferry, which allowed transportation from Conway to Socastee for lots and lots of years. A lot of the materials for the Sarvis House were ferried to Peachtree Landing and brought to the house. And Enterprise Landing: There was a ferry there as well. And of course, the Sarvis House, and the Cooper House – the general store there used to be a post office; when you go in, you can still see the cage. Those are the big spots, besides the swing bridge, of course.
Q. | What’s on the to-do list this down the road for the foundation?
A. | One of the projects we’re really looking forward to getting started, we hope this summer, is we want to do some sort of video history, some sort of conversational interview-type setting with some of the old-timers in the area, an informal setting so we can get some of these memories recorded for everyone else. ...
Also, we’re volunteers, and it takes a lot of time. Most of us work full time and have families. We’re always looking for anyone with time.
Q. | What other potential ground might this festival cover, and what other signature aspects remain part of the whole picture?
A. | We’re trying to increase ... the focus on history. ... We would like to put more emphasis on the living history aspect of it and on the children’s activities. ... Also, we have a handmade quilt, by Kathy Richard. It is 100 percent hand-stitched by her; it’s gorgeous. We will have raffle tickets – a book of six for $5. This is the third quilt she has done for us, but this one is 100 percent hand-stitched; she is so proud of it. Next week, it will be on display at the Turtle Market (at S.C. 707 and 707 Connector Road).